Chapter 2
The current law

Introduction

2.1The rule of joint and several liability is central to the common law conception of civil liability. The rule provides that two or more persons who have caused a particular loss will each be liable for the full extent of the loss. This means that the injured party can recover full compensation from any of the persons who have caused the harm, though they cannot recover more than the full amount awarded by the Court.

2.2The law surrounding the apportionment of civil liability has previously been examined by the Law Commission.9 However, debate about the merits of the rule and its application in practice have continued since the earlier review, particularly as a result of the leaky building crisis. This debate has not yet lead to legislative change, though the law has continued to develop through the Courts and some of the earlier concerns of the Commission have been judicially resolved.10 The rule of joint and several liability remains the principal liability rule, as was the position in 1998.
9See above at [1.7].
10See the discussion below at [2.20] in relation to contractual claims.